Every week, a life-sized cardboard cutout stands outside a church in Merced, CA. The “Coffee Break girl” usually sports a funky hair bow, a cup of coffee, and a welcoming smile. This fall, though, she is also decked out in a suit of armor because the Coffee Break groups at Yosemite Church are studying – you guessed it – the Armor of God.
When Jonae Pistoresi began Coffee Break at Yosemite Church in 2001, she started with fifty women in five groups. Now, fifteen years later, there are 196 women in eleven groups, led by Jonae and a leadership team of twelve women. These groups meet each week to study the Bible and pray together, providing each other with accountability and encouragement through fellowship.
As they study the armor of God, these women are already living into Paul’s injunction to have “…feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” They regularly find ways to bless their community through service and generosity. Recently the ladies threw a baby shower for the local pregnancy center, serving pink and blue cupcakes and bringing so many diapers, baby clothes, and baby supplies that the employees at the center needed extra vehicles to transport everything back to their office.
In this same spirit of joy and care, the Coffee Break ladies hold an annual community outreach event in the form of a “spring tea,” which is a tea party for 250 women. The group plans a program that includes music, a speaker, and a lovely tea.
When asked what Coffee Break has meant to them, many women mentioned how they love the fellowship, or how they like being prayed for and praying for the other women in their group. One women told how when she started coming to Coffee Break, she was not attending church. Through the Coffee Break group, though, she grew in the Lord, and because of this both she and her husband have begun going to church.
The women also tell how they appreciate the accountability that the group gives them to be in God’s Word on a regular basis. This winter, they’ll be working through Discover Colossians, a brand new Coffee Break publication on Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, and then in the spring they’ll turn to Discover The Sermon on the Mount. Inductive studies like these help the group to really dive into Bible passages and discover together what these passages mean for their lives.
Over the past fifteen years, this Coffee Break ministry has touched the lives of hundreds of women, and Jonae and her team are looking forward to the years to come.
On Tuesday, November 29, the group will be hosting a Coffee Break Training from noon to 3:00 pm. Sam Huizenga, the Discipleship and Coffee Break Catalytic Leader for Home Missions, will be facilitating the training, which is open to anyone. If you’re involved in Coffee Break or a Bible study, consider taking advantage of this opportunity for training and growth.